Breakthrough Fundraising Letters Paperback – December 18, 2007
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''Really busy?? Want to boost your donors response? Then buy this excellent resource book. It will help you write more effectively. ''Breakthrough Fundraising Letters'' is on my desk all the time. I use it for letters, for email responses, and for newletter inserts. I even use it for prior planning as I prepare myself before meeting face to face with a donor. This book helps keep one centred and focused. Alan Sharpe has written a ''MUST HAVE'' book for all fundraisers.'' --Heather McLean
About the Author
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Here's my method: I spend an hour or two warming up by reading great letters and how-to books. Mal Warwick's much-updated classic, How to Write Successful Fundraising Letters, is often open on my desk. And a now I have a new helping hand: Alan Sharpe's charming, tough, truly inspiring book. Like other fave how-to books, it has a winning personality; a firm, guiding hand; and short chapters. It takes itself less than dead-seriously.
I first read Alan's book when preparing to launch letters for (1) a big hospital hoping to acquire donors from among its so-called "grateful patients" pool; and (2) a major community foundation embarking on its first "friend-raising" campaign among the affluent. When I began reading, I had no good ideas for either campaign. And by the time I was halfway through his book, my hair was on fire. He champions honesty, freshness, and storytelling. (Ignore the slightly peculiar rant against the postscript; all the example letters he shows have postscripts, so you have to wonder about the contradiction.)
Yes, much of the info you can find in other books but Alan's way of presenting the material is refreshingly simple and very friendly...just like the tone of your donor letters need to be. (And, with with chapter titles like "Kill Your Dear Friends" he'll even provide a needed laugh or two.)
Over the years, I have been slowly improving our acquisition and renewal packages as much as I could. But after reading Sharpe's book, those letters have taken a major leap forward. The "breakthrough" in the book's title must refer not only to achieving higher response rates and more revenue. It must also refer to the breakthrough in mindset that the book's advice and numerous helpful examples provides to the fundraiser.
The book improved my writing in every way. My fundraising (and thank you) letters are more personal, more felicitous, more effective than ever before.
Alan Sharpe is the kind of guy every fundraiser should have on his team. I am glad he's on mine.
While my group currently does not do much in the direct mail arena (except for an annual year-end appeal), the information contained and descriptive thought processes in Breakthrough Fundraising Letters has had an immediate impact on how we are approaching our letter campaigns for in-kind donations for numerous fundraising events (we host 3-4 major events per year).
All in all, time and money well spent!